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You’re eating for two now, but are you really getting all of the nutrients you and your baby need?

To safeguard your own health and to ensure that your baby develops properly, most doctors recommend prenatal vitamins. These special formulations include a variety of vitamins and minerals. One of the most important vitamins is folic acid.

Folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing a neural tube defect, a serious birth defect involving the brain and spinal cord. The most common neural tube defect is spina bifida, a condition in which the spine doesn’t close properly and the exposed nerves are damaged, leading to paralysis and sometimes mental retardation.

Neural tube defects develop in the first 28 days after conception, before many women even realize they are pregnant, so many health experts recommend that all sexually active females in their child-bearing years get at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day.

Not all prenatal vitamin preparations are alike. This is a good thing, because women’s needs vary. For example, a woman who has already had a child with a neural tube defect may benefit from a higher dose of folic acid than other women. Your Sobeys Pharmacist can help you select a prenatal vitamin that is right for you.

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